December 24

Heather Christophersen ’98

Vice President for Human Resources Heather Christophersen remembers a chance meeting with Fr. Hesburgh that guided the trajectory of her life.

“As I left the Grotto to head back to Lewis Hall, I suddenly saw Fr. Hesburgh in his big puffy coat walking toward me — seeming to pop up almost out of nowhere. We were the only two people around. He asked me my name, major, and dorm, as he always did when he interacted with students. He then asked me what was on my mind.”

In this Advent season of anticipation, I hope that we all remember to ask for what we need when we are discerning, trusting that God will respond in small and big ways … and through encounters we least expect.



  1. “If I ever needed anything to just say his prayer of ‘Come Holy Spirit.'” I have said this almost daily for quite a few years. I shall now intend to say it more often. I remember Father Ted mentioning this prayer to me or I read it somewhere that he said it often. I also remember that he said he used it before meeting/encountering someone so that he would have the optimal words for that specific conversation. I am going to marry this 3 word prayer with the following from our Sacred Story of today: ” I hope that we all remember to ask for what we need when we are discerning, trusting that God will respond in small and big ways … and through encounters we least expect.” May Grace be with us all.


  2. It is a blessing to be in this group, to read each story every day and to feel the Love of our Notre Dame family!! May God Bless you all and have a Blessed Holiday!!!
    Merry Christmas 🎄

  3. I had the pleasure of meeting Fr Hesburgh in 1975. My sophomore year at St Marys I was studying at the Notre Dame library 3 rd floor my own personal cubicle ! I meet him outside by the reflection pool ! He was such a legend to us all ! I was pleased to meet him personally!! He said “ my light is always on “ in my office … stop by any time “. Tradition has it …. The light in his office at the top of ( now Hesburgh Library…. Is always on !!!

  4. Can you do these during lent too? I love these. I look forward to getting the text every night and watch the video before bed. A few I haven’t loved but the majority have been AMAZING!

  5. Thank you God for the grace and blessing of having two sons who are Notre Dame graduates.

    I am always moved to tears when I get present to the impact Notre Dame has had on our family.
    My son Jerry told me when he was six years old that he was going to Notre Dame. This began a journey of miracles from that day to his creating the documentary ” Hesburgh”.

    Although I was born in New York I grew up in Ireland and love Notre Dame
    with a passion.

    Fr. Hesburgh’s light not only shines in his office, it always shines in my heart.

    With a grateful heart.

    Elizabeth bARCA

  6. Has anyone put forward his name for Sainthood. I know he is there in the joyous multitude of saints. I met Fr. Hesburgh through his wonderful theology book, GOD AND THE WORLD OF MAN. I was a student in the early 60’s in a small juniorene college, Sacred Heart Jr. College in Belmont, NC. This was our textbook in our Theology class. This book opened the Catholic way for me as I never had read so clearly before. God bless you, dear Fr. Hesburgh. Sacred Heart College was incorporated later as part of Belmont Abbey College (Benedictine) Elaine Chetti Howard

  7. Thank you Heather for the reminder that God is always there and God listens to our needs. I need to remember that. Merry Christmas to you and your lovely family.

  8. Fr. Ted made Notre Dame what it is today. One has to think the Holy Spirit guided HIM!! He is truly loved by ND nation.

  9. I married a 1971 ND graduate and it was the best thing I ever did. We were married for 46 wonderful years. He passed away in 2019 but I still grieve for him daily, especially at Christmas as it was his favorite time of the year. Perhaps I was meant to see this prayer, COME HOLY SPIRIT, to help me continue my earthly journey and know he is still by my side and he wouldn’t want me to be so sad. He and his friends would affectionately refer to dear Fr. Hesburgh as TED THE HEAD!!!!!

  10. Loved that sacred story, Heather. It was legendary Hesburgh!! “Come Holy Spirit” will be my go-to prayer from now on. Even I can remember that!

  11. I use as a meditation mantra Father Ted’s “Come Holy Spirit” (and I practiced law for 39 years😎). Thank for for your Advent sharing Heather. Patrick ND ‘72☘️

  12. That was a magnificent share, on top of all the shares we heard during Advent. I had chance meetings with Fr. Ted several times and I always felt enriched just crossing paths with him. I also heard Fr. Ted give homilies on Pentecost Sunday three times when I was at reunions. His theme was built around that beautiful little prayer “come, Holy Spirit.” To this day I say that prayer several times each day and the longer version with both my morning and evening prayers.
    Thank you, Heather for sharing your experience with Fr. Ted and reminding us of the need to say Fr. Ted’s favorite prayer: “come, Holy Spirit” in our daily lives.

  13. I first came upon ‘Come Holy Spirit’ about 20 years ago when I read Fr. Hesburgh autobiography. The powerful little three word prayer has helped me through many struggles.

  14. Heather,

    I remember our paths crossed a few times throughout our time at ND. As a fellow member of the class of ’98, I wish you a very Merry Christmas. What a wonderful advent reflection!

    Best, Jen (Gerber) Mone’

  15. Heather, I absolutely love your story…in no small part because my chance meeting with Fr Ted was strikingly similar. On my way back to Alumni Hall from the Grotto one brisk October evening, he asked the same things of me. When I told him of my uncertainty and self doubt regarding my first semester of freshman year grades (as an engineer like you, only Aerospace), he chuckled softly for a second, looked at me with those piercing eyes, and said, “Trust in God’s plan for you – you wouldn’t be here if He had given you more than you can handle”. At that moment, I knew things would work out. I had heard about is favorite prayer, so I looked back at him and uttered those same three words. He smiled, gave me a little hug, and whispered to me, “Now go hit the books”. I’ve thought about that night every single day of my life. Christ is indeed all around us, in everything. Blessings to you.

  16. Thank you Heather and thank you all for your heartfelt comments. I needed you and your gentle reminder this day!

  17. I met Father Ted several times 1981-84 when I was Executive Officer of the ND Naval ROTC. His welcome greeting as he shook my hand and said Nice to meet you or see you again Commander. Felt a warm connection as longtime friends. Adding “Come Holy Spirit” to my daily. I am 85 enjoying family and life with God’s blessings. Richard Executive MBA ND 1984.

  18. One night while walking back to Keenan Hall I saw Fr. Ted’s light night was on so I decided to see if I could meet him. The guard said he was busy preparing for an international trip but he when called up he invited me up to his office for a few minutes. I was from upstate New York as was he and so we had a nice conversation about that and also about how my grandfather had never been to Notre Dame but had seen the Golden Dome on the way to basic training and said “one day you’ll actually go there”! That was one of the main motivations for me wanting to go there. I told him my Grandfather was finally going to see ND for the first time with my parents at the upcoming Tulane game. Following our brief discussion I thought that was the extent of my encounter. Then several days later my roommate told me I had a call from Father Hesburgh‘s office and when I called back his secretary said that he was inviting my parents and grandparents to his pre-football luncheon for the Tulane game. Needless to say I was amazed he even remembered my parents and grandparents! They so enjoyed that event and the personal attention they received from him while they were there. He even had good things to say about me! Sadly my grandfather past away just a few months later. But I’ll never forget that holy moment with Fr. Ted and how he made my Grandfathers first and only visit to ND so special and memorable.

  19. Thanks Heather, beautiful recollection of Fr Ted. Come, Holy Spirit is simple to remember and so easy to pray. A gentle reminder is always appreciated while going about the business of life.

  20. I am a ‘67 ND engineering graduate and 2021-22 ILI Fellow. I remember meeting Fr Ted while walking on the main quad on a chilly day during ‘turbulent’ social times at ND and appreciated his calming and encouraging demeanor. His book, Higher Values in Higher Education, have been inspirational during my second career in higher education … as well as my times with Fr Dan, Fr Kevin, and Fr Ollie during my recent ILI semesters at ND and my work on ‘Harmony’ and leadership. Notre Dame is truly an important ‘sense of place’ for me, Diane, and our family.

  21. Heather, Thank you for sharing your sacred story involving a sweet encounter with Fr. Ted. How inspiring that his own go to prayer, “Come, Holy Spirit” has also proven helpful within your own life. I read about this prayer of his shortly after his death, and it has resonated with me as well. We are so blessed to have the example of special people like Fr. Hesburgh to encourage us to call on the Holy Spirit at all times. Thank you for this beautiful reminder. Merry Christmas to you and your family.

  22. I had a similar encounter with Fr Ted Hesburgh, CSC. It was also my Spring semester Junior year, and I was at the grotto late at night. As I was walking back to Keenan Hall, Fr Ted was walking toward me on the sidewalk. I think he was going to Corby Hall. I greeted him, and he remembered me because I was from northern Wisconsin, and there weren’t many students from there. Plus, we had a two hour interview my Freshman year when I was writing for the Scholastic Magazine. (I had been awarded an Indiana Press Award for that interview with Fr. Hesburgh, CSC.) Also, it was just the two of us on the sidewalk. He asked me how things were going. I told him I didn’t know how I would graduate because I had no job lined up, and I had to pay my tuition senior year. Fr Ted told me, “Why don’t you become a student fireman?” I already was an EMT and a lifeguard at the Rockne Memorial pool. It made perfect sense! So, the next day I went over to the fire hall and Bro. Borromeo, CSC, hired me. He said he got a call from Fr Ted. I was so happy! I also got hired working in the Emergency Department at St. Joseph’s Medical Center that summer between my Junior and Senior year. I lived in the Notre Dame Firehouse from May 1983 to May 1983. I earned my tuition and room & board as an employee of the University, thanks to Fr Ted and Bro Borromeo. I worked three jobs that summer and graduated with my Class of 1983. Thank goodness I went to the grotto that night, and my prayers were answered. I am so grateful to Fr Ted for his wisdom and leadership. He helped change the trajectory of my life.

  23. Thank you Heather. I read Father Ted’s book which my son Brant presented to me as a Christmas present during his freshman year at Notre Dame which introduced me to this simple but powerful prayer “Come Holly Spirit”. I use it often especially during stressful situations.

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